Thursday, March 1, 2012

Don't Give Up!

Putting forth the effort of reaching out to people who don't want to be reached out to can be disheartening. The temptation can definitely be to give up. Believe me, I'm faced with this daily. Our next door neighbor is one of those very people. She was friendly enough when we first moved in, but somewhere along the way, she decided never talk to any of her neighbors again, much less look at them or wave hello.

My poor children don't understand why she won't say "hello" in return. I can't quite understand it either. I tell them that she is rejecting our love for her. Over the Christmas season, we baked and delivered goodies to all of our neighbors. Her door was the last door we knocked on, and I warned the children that she probably wouldn't answer. But we tried anyway, and then layed our card and package down on the front chair, saying loudly, "Merry Christmas. We are leaving you a treat!" I also warned them that she might return the gift (as she has done before), and sure enough, the next day the loaf of coffee cake and card were on our front porch.

Needless to say, I've wanted to give up multiple times, thinking, "Well, we tried, and it's her choice to reject our love. We're done." But for the simple fact that Jesus would never do that. The Bible tells us to "not lose heart in well-doing," and "to run the race with endurance," and to "love your neighbor as yourself," not to mention, "love your enemies." Maybe an even closer example is the way we reject Jesus's love for us before He saves us.

So, if you (as I am) are growing weary of doing good, don't. Our reward hardly ever is seen this side of heaven, and who knows what good might come from our perseverance, right? I can only hope that someday our dear little sad neighbor will come to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I'd hate to look back and know that I had given up on her.
maybe peeking on our neighbors isn't the best way to win them...
just kidding...this isn't our neighbor, it's someone else's! and there was
a bouncy house on the other side, people! 
*as a side note, but certainly important--my "doing good" to my neighbor means nothing and will count for nothing, apart from the grace of the Lord and his salvation. The Bible clearly teaches that none of us can "do good," so in no way am I proclaiming a works-based salvation. This desire to love and do good to others is merely a fruit, a result, of God's saving and changing work on our hearts. But it takes a concerted effort, to say the least!

6 comments:

Ryan. Beth. Pierce. Paige. Ollie. said...

girl, do i know the feeling. though, maybe i haven't had to experience the extreme of a returned gift! keep it up. ;)

Eadie said...

I'm encouraged. Thanks!

naomi said...

hey . . . you should include a "don't give up" themed post into your monthly posting rotation . . . just a thought :)

Jamey said...

Thanks for reminding me! I had been telling myself this all day...after empty texts and voice mail with no return phone calls and excuses for given invitations plagued me this week. People are worth the fight, they always are and I am thankful that I serve a Redeemer who gives me the example of fighting the good fight through His word and work in my heart.

Denise said...

A great encouragement indeed. Feel free to come drop desserts at my door any day. GF please. Especially those chocolatey, nutty meringue ones from Martha Stewart. :)

me said...

I like the monthly idea of posting, Naomi...
And Denise, you just made my mouth water, those cookies are so good! Maybe I will someday when you least expect it...